Sunday, September 7, 2008

At the Reptile Expo

Reptile Expo Floor
Reptile Expo Floor

Before leaving work on Friday, I mentioned to my boss that Allen and I were going to be selling herp chotchkas at a reptile expo on Sunday.

My boss, a non-herper, looked bemused. What is a reptile expo? she said.

To answer the question:

It’s a convention hall (in this instance the White Plains County Center) where aisle upon aisle of snakes, lizards, frogs and turtles (as well as spiders, hissing cockroaches, and miscellaneous other animals) are sold for sums ranging from $10 to $10,000.

Most of said animals are displayed in plastic takeout containers or cages, like these snakes.

snakes under glass
snakes under glass

Iguanas are kept in wire mesh cages.

Iguana up for adoption
Iguana up for adoption

Chameleons are also usually displayed in cages. But sometimes, they're allowed to hang out on a tree branch.

Just hanging around
Just hanging around

Bearded dragons, that neither slither nor leap, are shown off for sale in oversized Tupperware tubs and fish tanks.

Juvenile bearded dragons basking
Juvenile bearded dragons basking

Large beardies happily ride around on an arm, shoulder or other part of the anatomy -- before and after purchase.

John from the Long Island Herp Society
John from the Long Island Herp Society
Unconventional traveller
Unconventional traveller

Geckos come in takeout containers.

Not our natural habitat
Not our natural habitat

You'll find frogs in fish tanks.

Dart frogs
Dart frogs

Turtles in tanks and tubs.

Red eared sliders
Red eared sliders

Then there's all the paraphernalia necessary to feed -

Snake food
Snake food

Packaged food
Packaged food

House -

Critter cages
Critter cages

And maintain your herp collection:

Mostly, I just enjoy looking at the people and the herps.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Turtles on Vacation

Over many years of being married to a turtle lover – my husband Allen – I’ve learned that there are, strictly speaking, only two types of vacations:

  1. Those undertaken for the express purpose of seeing turtles
  2. Those undertaken for simple rest and relaxation – along with the hope that one will see some turtles along the way.

Last week, we vacationed in Connecticut and Rhode Island – a rest and relaxation vacation. Nevertheless, there were turtle sightings, to wit:

We spied Eastern painted turtles at Mystic Aquarium’s wetlands pond.

At Marble House (below), a Gilded Age mansion in Newport, RI (now a museum), we took a self-guided tour. When we arrived in the kitchen, the narrator on the tape mimicked the sound of chopping off a terrapin head in preparation for cooking. (I guess this was a turtle “sounding” rather than a “sighting.”) Across the room, in a glass-fronted cabinet, was a turtle mold, made of what looked like pewter. Not sure what might have been cooked in the mold. Wasn't allowed to take photos in the house, so no picture of said mold.

And in Connecticut, at a Feast of Green Corn, known as Schemitzun, presented by the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation, we saw rattles, medicine pouches and dream catchers made by tribal artisans from turtle shells and other materials.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Turtle Pond Envy

I have a bad case of turtle pond envy.

Each time Allen and I visit friends who have a) a backyard, and b) a backyard turtle pond, we find ourselves, apartment dwellers that we are, wishing for a little bit more real estate for our turtles.

This weekend, we visited turtle friends who are blessed with both a backyard and a turtle pond/s.

Who wouldn't be envious?

Last year, we visited other turtle friends with a similarly
resplendent outdoor people-and-turtle set up.


Can Turtles and Iguanas Be Friends?

Yellow Foot Tortoise & Iguana

This was a question I'd never thought to ask - until yesterday, when Allen and I visited our friend AJ, an iguana rehabber. We see AJ at every reptile show at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, NY.

She's usually there with one or more iguanas who need homes, along with Merlin, an iguana who has the run of her Connecticut home, which she shares with her husband, two sons and approximately 35 other iguanas. (I didn't get an exact read on the lizard population -- the number may be higher, though I doubt lower.)

Just as many turtle lovers start out with one turtle, AJ started with one iguana, a birthday present from her family 12 years ago. Then, a friend wrote a story for a local publication about her iguana, and included AJ's phone number. "The phone hasn't stopped ringing since," says AJ.

I knew that we'd be seeing a large number of lizards; I just didn't realize that AJ also keeps turtles, tortoises (and frogs). Or, that her tortoises coexist quite nicely with her iguanas, as you can see, above and below.

The iguanas also coexist (for the most part -- gotta separate the dominant males) very well with each other. And many enjoy a swank picture window habitat.

The turtles in our house should have it so good!

]Fast friends
Red Foot Tortoise and Iguana
This is the life!


More Turtle Show Photos

One of the most exciting part of the Turtle Show is taking photos of people and turtles. In fact, it might just be the very best part. And this blog, well, it's a great forum to show off lots of those photos.

Turtle judging

Above, our turtle judge.

Next, some of the turtles he judged.

Redfoot tortoise

Above, a red foot tortoise.

Red Eared Slider Turtle

Above, a red-eared slider.

Star and Leopard Tortoises

Star and Leopard tortoises.

Mata Mata

A Mata Mata, or a South American leaf headed turtle. Yes, this really is a turtle!

Juvenile box turtle

Above, a juvenile Eastern Box turtle

Adult Chinese Box Turtle

An adult Chinese box turtle

Common Snapper photoshopped

A common snapping turtle (and "floating" friend). Yes, this was photo manipulated.

Turtle flip-flops

And the only pair of turtle flip-flops I've ever seen!

Bet you didn't know there were this many kinds of turtles in the world!